We’re entering the third year of college football’s playoff system, and I couldn’t be happier.

I mean, there are actually games before New Year’s Day that matter now.

Lets face it, football around this time of year can be rather dull at times.

Like anybody, I love the bowl season, and you are guaranteed to randomly see some wild games and wacky finishes, but there are just as many, if not more, snoozers.

While there is no certainty either semifinal game of this season’s College Football Playoff will become an instant classic, at least there is something other than bragging rights on the line.

Undefeated Alabama (13-0) sits atop the field and will play No. 4 Washington (12-1) in the Peach Bowl at 2 p.m. Saturday, while No. 2 Clemson (12-1) and No. 3 Ohio State (11-1) follow at 6 p.m. in the Fiesta Bowl.

I have higher expectations for the Buckeyes-Tigers’ game, but both should be compelling if nothing else.

For years, we dealt with controversy as the championship-game participants were determined off the field. Sure, resumes were written during games, but in the end, nobody wants to have the title game influenced by outside forces.

Championships should always be determined by the players competing, and in team sports, the only real way to do that is with a playoff.

Yet, there is still some unrest.

For many, a field of four teams is simply not diverse enough, and I can’t disagree.

I believe six or eight is enough to sufficiently decide a champion because that should allow for a couple teams to qualify with multiple losses, setting up Cinderella situations.

After all, isn’t that the exact reason March Madness is must-watch programming?

If we truly want to crown a legitimate champion at the end of each college football season, the playoff must expand. Even if it did, however, some team would always be left out.

Whether four teams or 44 teams participate, inevitably, squads will be on the outside of the bubble, arguing their case for why they were overlooked.

For now, however, I’m just going to enjoy the fact college football is evolving.

The College Football Playoff is a step in the right direction, and hopefully, the growth is not stunted anytime soon.

While it will take a lot of negotiating and breaking through red tape along the way, the College Football Playoff has the potential to become one of the nation’s greatest sporting events if it expands.

But currently, we are getting a glimpse of what could be, and I’m happy with that.

Football isn’t exclusively mediocre before New Year’s Day anymore, and after years of being disgruntled with the ultimate outcome, fate is being placed back into the hands of players and coaches.

Contact Clay Whittington at clayw@kdhnews.com

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